Sustainability is a complex concept, that often times gets simplified to meaning “good for the environment.” As a company who has sustainability at the heart of everything we do (it’s part of our mantra), we often find ourselves having to break through the biases associated with the word. If 2020 taught us anything, it is that sustainability – TRUE sustainability – is going to be more important than ever moving into 2021 and beyond.
What is Sustainability?
The concept of sustainability as a business practice is, by no means, a new one. Beginning in the early 1980’s, environmentalists and environmental economists began developing the basis of the idea of doing business in a way that not only protected the environment and the availability of natural resources, but also protected those resources for future generations. In 1987, the Brundtland Commission established the definition of sustainability in their publication, “Common Future (also called Brundtland Report). In this publication, they said “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The idea of supporting future generations is what lead to the “Three Pillars of Sustainability” model that most businesses use today.
In this current model, environmental, social, and economic impacts are all given equal weight, and that’s important to remember.
The word “sustainability” doesn’t get mentioned in any other facet of operations more than when it comes to handling waste. Every waste services provider on the planet splashes the word “sustainable” in one form or another in their offerings, which is why the idea of sustainability has basically become synonymous with “eco-friendly”.
Un-Doing the Spin
As a sustainability-driven waste service provider, we are pushing the idea that without all three pillars being balanced, “sustainability” doesn’t exist. Too many service providers simply home in on the environmental impact of a waste service and ignore the other two aspects of sustainability. For example, there may be a waste solution that is extremely environmentally beneficial, provides a safer community but costs exponentially more money. That extra cost will either reduce the margin on your goods/services or drive the price up and sell less units. Either way it’s cutting into your bottom line, limiting growth and lowering wages. For a service to truly be sustainable, all three of the pillars must be in place – providing equal support throughout the entire process.
From start to finish, our programs are designed to ensure that every aspect of sustainability are covered, with a special emphasis put on the economic impact. The right services at the right price to meet your business and sustainability goals are the key to our success. We develop these services by analyzing your operations, right-sizing them through the life of the contract and building efficiency into everything we do. Waste comes in many forms: wasted time, wasted effort, wasted material, etc. Wasting less always means spending less.
Contact us today to see how we can make your operation TRULY sustainable. We have the expertise and flexibility to design a custom-built solution to handle any waste stream your operation generates.